What are my higher education options?

Higher education refers to qualifications and courses taken after you finish college (Level 3 study).

There's a lot of things to consider, so we've put together some information to help you make those important decisions.

it's important that you:

  • Choose the right course – it’s vital you think about what you want to study before you think about where. What are you good at, what are you passionate about, and will it help you achieve your goals?
  • Choose the right environment – make sure where you study suits you and your circumstances. Can you afford to move away/ travel? Do you think you’ll meet like-minded people? Visit the campus and think about how you feel there.
  • Get the right grades – be organised, stay motivated and set yourself goals to give yourself the best chance.

Choosing a course

There are over 35,000 higher education courses to choose from, so it’s important to start your research early to ensure you’ve a good idea of what you’d like to study, and ensure it’s right for you.

Here’s some things to consider:

  • Does the course cover things you are interested in?
  • How is it assessed?
  • Research what topics (modules) you will study each year.
  • What qualification do you get at the end of the course?
  • How long does the course last?
  • Does the course involve a work placement or the chance to study abroad?

Always compare a range of courses at different universities and colleges – look beyond the course title because they may differ enormously.


Once you have an idea of what course you want to study, the next step is to narrow down where to study. In the UK, you can study at a wide range of institutions, from traditional universities to further education colleges with HE provision, to smaller and specialist institutions.

A good starting point when doing your research is to make a list of priorities, covering what is important to you. These priorities might include:

  • Location – are you planning on staying at home or moving away? Do you want to be in a city or a town?
  • Size – how big is the university or college? What are the class sizes?
  • Opportunities and facilities – are there clubs and societies you can join? What are the support services like? Are there work experience opportunities available?

Remember, no two universities or colleges are the same – attend an open day to see if you can see yourself in that environment.

Entry requirements

Each university or college course will have entry requirements, this may be certain qualifications or achieving certain grades.

Universities and colleges rely upon your predicted grades, past qualifications and information in your personal statement to make offers.

For some courses, you may also have to have an interview or complete an admissions test.

It’s important you look at entry requirements when researching your course and institution.

Further Information

We’ve collated some useful websites which will help you when researching your higher education options.

UCAS Apprenticeships Complete Uni Guide Discover Uni The Uni Guide

The next big question

What support is available?

Support on your chosen pathway is important. Here you can find out more about financial support and the right support for you.

Find out more